Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Are YOU Talking to Me???

On Sunday Brian and I took the kids to a county park (sort of) near our house. They wanted to play with Mindy in the dog park, and Brian and I wanted to nap in the sun. (We settled for a 'nap' in the clouds. *sigh*)
As I was laying there, I couldn't help over-hearing an interaction between a woman and child which must have been occurring only 10 feet away from me. It was time for this family to leave the park, and the child did not want to go. I resisted the urge to open my eyes, roll over, and watch the scene. But - based upon what I could hear - I'm guessing the child was less than two years old. As the child protested, the mother said, "C'mon, now. You're trying to embarrass me. Stop it. Let's go."
And that statement she made, "You're trying to embarrass me," hung in the air like a bad stench.
Everything in me wanted to get up and go say to her, "Your child is not trying to embarrass you. She has simply had fun here at the beach and she wants to stay longer. She isn't being vindictive. She's being a toddler."
But I know better than to get in the way of an Irritable Mother (LOL!) so I kept my eyes and my mouth shut.

However, the little conversation I had in my head with the irritable mother? God brought it back to me later that evening.

Joshua wanted to play with some friends and was eager for me to get dinner ready (earlier than usual). When we got home, I changed my clothes and started preparing dinner. Then Joshua came into the kitchen to ask how long until dinner was going to be ready. I told him, "About half an hour," hoping that would be quick enough to satisfy his urge to play.

I absolutely did not expect the response he gave me.

Rather than being upset that I was taking too long, he protested that I was not giving him enough time to do the things he wanted to do before dinner.


I responded with something along the lines of, "I thought you wanted to have dinner early so you could play with your friends afterwards. Now you're mad because I'm making it too soon? I can't win with you!"
He got sassy back, and I got more irritable.
Joshua stormed off in a huff and I stood in the kitchen. Baffled by my son, frustrated with his attitude, and wondering why he so frequently takes me to this place of angst.

And right about then, God brought back the words I had wanted to say at the park. I thought of how - as an outsider - I could see the woman's child wasn't really trying to upset her. Because I wasn't in the midst of her circumstance, because I wasn't frustrated with her child, I was able to view things from the child's vantage point. I was able to remember the child was, well, a child!
Looking in on her moment, I was filled with compassion and wanted to say, "Dear Mother, she's just being a toddler. Won't you extend her some grace?"

That's when I could almost hear the words in my own heart.

Karen, he's just being an adolescent. Won't you extend him some grace?

I had to pause and look heavenward, asking, "Are YOU talking to me???"



luvmy4sons said...

Toddlers and teens...not a lot of difference in so many ways. You are always so grace filled. My first inclinations are more along the lines of respect and obedience...I have a most difficult time with getting past those ideas and my sense that I need to teach them to be obedient and be respectful...I wish I were more immediately full of grace and love and understanding. But God isn't finished with me yet, just like he isn't finished with my teens. Walking this out together with our God! Love ya!

Patricia/NYC said...

Reading this post, it was as if you held a mirror back at me...oh my goodness!! When will I learn that if I choose to extend grace I will most likely NOT get the sassy attitude thrown back to me? We walk such a fine line on this parenting tightrope!! :)

Thanks for this post, Karen!! It really hit home for me!

Bren said...

Grace, I am working on it too.

Ronel Sidney said...

We have had such a busy week with camp during the day and VBS at night. Our schedule is all over the place and I am struggling to find peace *sigh*. I need to remember he is a child (and my husband is a man) and I need to extend grace to them. Thank you for the reminder!!

Irritable Mother said...

Leslie - Besides size and acne, nope. Not a lot different. LOL!
Oh, wow! I wish grace was my immediate response with my own kids. I, too, get quickly hung up on the respect and obedience issue - esp. with the 'subject' of this post. I know respect and obedience are important. It's just hard for me to know where to draw the line between those two things and grace.
Need to keep relying on my Father, and His perfect wisdom.

Patricia - Tightrope, for sure. So thankful for my perfectly faithful Safety Net!

Bren - I think I'll always be working on it. I know I'll always be needing it.

Ronel - You're welcome.
Don't forget you need to receive it, too.

gianna said...

Is that when you stick your fingers in your ears and start singing really loudly?

Because i would have! I want it to be me whose right all the time not anyone else--even God.

How horrible is that?

Alene said...

Love your reflections. Asking myself, "Are YOU talking to me???" thanks.

Amanda said...

That last bold italicized line is what did me in this time. Oh AMEN to that!! Great thoughts Karen.. thank you for this fresh perspective!


Irritable Mother said...

Gianna - The thing is, acknowledging that God is right is what brings me the greatest peace. (And singing my heart out helps, too. *grin*)

Alene - Thanks. That's a good question to be asking.

Amanda - You're welcome. I keep thanking God for it, too!